We hope that this will give you a better understanding of how we work as well as providing you with an insight into the depth of our skills and experience.
Properties With Lifts
Providing and maintaining a lift in a property is a significant investment. If the equipment is not correctly managed and maintained it can be potentially dangerous and prone to breakdowns and lift trappings. When a lift fails it causes significant frustration and annoyance with the residents and they lose confidence in it and tend not to use it.
We have excellent relationships with several reliable lift companies and our practise is to ensure there is a proper lift maintenance contract in place to reduce the likelihood of failures.
If your current lift maintenance company does not quickly address issues, then we would encourage you to move contracts to another company. We work closely with lift consultant companies, so we can assure, when it comes to refurbishing the lifts, competent professionals are involved and thorough specifications are prepared for tendering.
As you would expect, JCF are very experienced property managers and Chartered Surveyors and we therefore fully understand how to professionally manage properties whether large or small.
However, we absolutely recognise that larger blocks require a greater degree of support. This means we assign two block managers to our larger blocks – typically a senior property manager and a property manager – rather than the more typical single block manager. This way you will always be able to contact one of your property managers.
We find that clients of ours who have larger blocks greatly appreciate the additional support, extra resource and more attentive customer care that we can provide as a result.
Properties with Caretakers or Building Managers and other Site Staff
In many of the larger blocks that we manage, there is a caretaker or building manager employed, either working at the property during normal office hours or living at the property in accommodation provided by the client.
Typically, a building manager will be carrying out the cleaning at the property, will deal with refuse removal, coordinate with contractors who are working on the building and will oversee security arrangements.
We work closely with them to ensure the effective day to day management of the building and we monitor, advise and support to ensure that they carry out their duties and the tasks assigned to them effectively. We also encourage them and support them when it comes to training like Health and Safety or First Aid.
Grade I and Grade II Listed Buildings
Listed buildings bring with them their own set of unique challenges. JCF has managed listed buildings for many years and as Chartered Surveyors and highly qualified, experienced property managers, we fully understand the legislation and due process required when attending to repairs or other project work needed.
We work with contractors and other property professionals who have the specialist skills and experience required in order to maintain listed properties.
As an example, one of our clients who owned a listed property had a problem with pigeons roosting and nesting on the building causing significant fouling. Unfortunately, due to planning restrictions we could not install the standard, typical types of bird deterrent. Instead, we therefore used one of our specialist contractors – a professional falconry firm – to fly birds of prey that permanently deterred the pigeons in an effective and humane way.
Properties With Water Pressure Issues
It’s not uncommon for buildings in London – that are surrounded by many other densely populated buildings – to experience issues with low water pressure. This is especially an issue for multi-storey blocks and in particular those flats on the higher levels.
We have the expertise and experience to assist clients who are experiencing water pressure problems to resolve them. The remedy is often to install new water storage tanks and booster pumps and we work closely with our client’s professional teams and with their contractors to decide upon a satisfactory solution and to implement it.
Parking Issues & Improvements
Many properties in London don’t have sufficient parking spaces for their residents, often because the property was built in a time when we owned fewer cars and certainly had fewer cars per household. Some garages are also no longer big enough to accommodate the newer, larger vehicles of today and as a result they then have to be parked outside, further reducing the number of available spaces. The lack of adequate parking spaces at a property is a very important and highly contentious issue for residents and often becomes a source of frustration and argument when valuable spaces are incorrectly used or taken up by non-residents.
JCF is very experienced in handling such issues, and where necessary, enforcing the parking rules as set out in the flat leases. In some cases, we can identify possible areas within the grounds of the property where more spaces can be created. We can also put in place a parking control contract – using parking permits – so that non-residents can be clearly identified, and enforcement action taken against them and where appropriate, the offending vehicles can be removed.
Fly tipping is unfortunately an issue for many properties. Often, residents themselves are responsible but in some cases, rubbish is also tipped outside by people who have no connection with the building at all. Waste items from building renovations and rubbish generated when tenants change in a flat are the more common problems.
We have become extremely efficient at dealing with the removal of refuse so that it causes minimal inconvenience. We work with professional refuse removal companies that will quickly arrive on site, take photos of the tipped items (in case there is any dispute at a later date over items removed) and then correctly dispose of them offsite.
We also like to make sure that residents, owners and tenants too, are fully aware of the housekeeping rules and know where and how to arrange for bulky waste removal by the local council.
Large trees situated close to a property can in some cases cause problems. Their foliage can block light and more seriously, their roots can undermine the building’s foundations. In any of these circumstances we are very experienced in coordinating the skilled professionals needed to manage the trees and to repair any damage that may have been caused.
We can arrange for tree surgeons to survey the trees in the gardens of the properties that we manage and to carry out the necessary works to them to ensure that they thrive but don’t damage the adjacent buildings. Where the trees have caused damage to a building we can recommend structural engineers to advise on the structural repairs required and contractors to carry out the work.
We work closely with these and we also liaise with the buildings insurers – and with their appointed loss adjusters – to agree the extent of the repairs required and to see that they are carried out and where possible costs are recovered under the buildings insurance policy.
Flat Roof Leaks
The challenge with a flat roof leak is often not how to repair it but finding the specific issue that is causing the leak. Once the source of the leak has been found, quite often only a simple repair is required at a relatively lower cost than renewing the entire flat roof covering.
We therefore work with several roof companies who have experience with all types of roofs. They can survey a roof and advise on the most likely areas that are leaking and carry out the necessary work.
Long Term Building Plans
We recommend that our Clients instruct a building Surveyor to prepare a 10-year maintenance plan for their property (this is outside our standard management fee). This ensures that everyone involved is aware of what works are necessary over a 10-year period and can budget accordingly. Owners can then pay regular amounts into a reserve fund over the 10-year period to fund the maintenance rather than having to find funds at short notice – using special levies. We regularly review progress against the plan.
Our experience is that the flats in blocks with a 10-year major works plan, a reasonable annual service charge budget and with adequate reserves to fund it, are often more saleable than similar flats in properties that don’t.